Album Review: Currents – The Way It Ends

User Rating: 9.3

O V E R V I E W

The first time something (anything at all) is attempted, most would go into it having the mindset of wanting to do it right and do it well. Not only to know that you have done whatever that task might be to your utmost satisfaction, but this thing you’ve accomplished or set out to do may depend on the approval or disapproval of others as well. This adds an additional responsibility to others to ensure happiness all around. But what happens if you do this and far exceed everyone’s expectations? This would mean that the next time you go to do the same exact thing, other’s will be expecting something greater than you had done the last time. Not too many would be satisfied with the same exact thing over and over, and so you have set yourself up for what now is a much more difficult situation the next time around. This could not be more of the case when it comes to releasing music. Especially after releasing a debut that no one was completely ready for. A debut that blew everything else at the time completely out of the water (and blew quite a few minds in the process). This is precisely what happened with Currents’ debut album, The Place I Feel Safest. I was one of the many who had no idea how greatly that record would affect me, and how much I would fall in love with it (and am even still infatuated with it to this day). Sure, it was ‘just’ another metalcore record on paper, but in actuality in was so much more. There was a passion and drive behind every note and lyric that had been lost to other groups it had seemed for quite some time. Combining elements of metal, progressive, and even just the slightest touch of deathcore, they produced something that was anything but a carbon copy of something else, Currents proved they were a massive force to be reckoned with, and could produce some of the most interesting and creative metalcore the masses had yet heard. This is an incredible accomplishment, but now the masses expected even more huge things from this band from Connecticut. It was only roughly a year later though that we’d all get our next taste of what’s to come in the form of an EP. I Let The Devil In ended up serving one ultimate purpose as far as a listener’s point of view goes; it more than proved (in only five tracks) that Currents were no one trick pony. From the band’s perspective, this EP served as a way to garner a larger feel of exactly what the listener’s wanted to hear. A varied array of core genres all wrapped up neatly in five songs gave the fans exactly that. An avenue in which to hear the multifaceted offerings from a band that was set on taking the metalcore world by storm. Which brings us to now and the upcoming sophomore album, The Way It Ends. Taking what must have been days and days of advice, wants, and desires from the fans and combining it with their own take on their mindsets, the subject matter, and the end product they had in mind and you have the new album. A juggernaut of a record, which just goes to show sometimes you can improve on previously acquired skills and expand them to new and greater heights.

Genre: Metalcore | Progressive Metalcore
Label: SharpTone Records
Release: June 5th, 2020
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Purchase: iTunes | Google Play

F L O W  /  L O N G E V I T Y  /  O R I G I N A L I T Y

The Way It Ends is a seamless listening experience, front to back (much like the debut album, and EP that followed). Currents seem to have a knack for piecing the puzzle (so to speak) together in a manner which could not make sense laid out in any other fashion. They follow a tried and true recipe that grasps and keeps the listener’s attention with a moment of wavering or longing for something more. As much as experimentation is rarely a bad thing when it comes to compiling a list of songs you’ve created, but you don’t want to alienate the fans by throwing in multiple monkey wrenches where they should not be. From the first moment of The Way It Ends you’re pulled into a world that envelopes your entire being. “Never There” isn’t truly much more than an ‘intro’ (as opposed to an actual full song), but unlike other intro tracks it delivers much more substance with vocalist Brian Wille screaming so hard (as if he was begging for help to find his way out of what was once a false sense of security – he even goes as far as to call back to the title of the debut, stating ‘because the place that I feel safest, it was never there, never there at all). All of this is done over sparingly played guitar notes and the sporadic pounding on echoing drums. A haunting, albeit perfect way to reel in even those who’s minds initially may have been elsewhere. The album’s track list follows an exquisite ebb and flow of both heavy and more melodic tracks, with ne’er the song feeling as if it was placed in the incorrect order. Each track stands out on its own, as if each song could have been a single all on its own, yet they all fit so perfectly together at the same time. All the way to the final song, “Better Days”, which closes this chapter of Currents with the same message that it begun with, the desire for hope. That in my opinion is what helps to tie all of the other subject matter and messages of the album together, and what creates a wondrous flow from beginning to end.

When it comes to a band like Currents and each album’s shelf life, the word infinite comes to mind. It’s the very fact that if even only a few songs stood out to you initially, those few songs will keep pulling you back and eventually will lead to a new and different appreciation for other songs and aspect of the albums down the road. For myself it’s the fact that even after multiple EP’s and albums in, this entire groups dedication to their craft and sheer drive to produce the best music they can, that keeps me coming back for more, over and over. I’ve had this album for a bit of time now, and yet I continue to find new details daily that I hadn’t heard before, which tells me the stay power The Way It Ends will have in the long run. Even the initial singles like “Poverty of Self” and “A Flag to Wave” still stand out so greatly and have me craving even more spins, and the rest of the album is truly no different. I find myself constantly going back to songs like “Monsters” and “Split” and the beauty is I can’t even tell what exactly it’s due to. Is it the powerfully emotional lyrics? Is it simply the fact that these songs make you feel as if you could rip the roof off your house? I don’t know, and don’t care. I love these songs (all of them really), and I can’t get enough of them (or the entire album for that matter).

Originality. This is one of the trickier parts for me when it comes to writing a review. Do most albums nowadays have similarities to others in similar genre’s? Well, yea. But does that mean it’s EXACTLY like other albums, or that it has no sense of self? Absolutely fucking not. No one does Currents like Currents, and even if they pull influences from other groups and their albums, they are still undoubtedly no one but themselves. One thing that’s for sure is this album proves that the band did exactly what they set out to with I Let The Devil In, and as previously stated that was to get a larger feel of what the listener’s were looking for. In a way this album feels like a full album version of that EP, without anything being repeated. More so in the way that this album has helped to further vary what different sounds, elements, and skillset the group had previously offered. As a whole The Way It Ends is much more varied than anything the group has done before, and in that they have created something so unique and original to them and them alone. A song like “How I Fall Apart” shows this by surgically melding both the most heavy and most melodic sides of the group into one song. Sure, other groups have done this in some form or fashion, but it’s the way in which the band switches up time signatures and the manner in which Brian sings/screams or the group plays their instruments that makes it so incredibly them. So incredibly original.

Currents – A Flag To Wave (Official Music Video)

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V O C A L S  /  I N S T R U M E N T A T I O N

What can I say about Brian Wille’s vocals? I mean holy shit, this dude has absolutely zero limitations. NO ONE sounds like Wille in both screams and cleans, which is yet another point that adds to what makes this group so unique in a genre of music so saturated with what feels like the same old, same old. His voice commands notice and attention, especially when screaming so viciously and with such raw intensity. “Poverty of Self” showed the world that you could throw this man in with the fiercest of deathcore vocalists and he would more than hold his won. On songs such as “Monsters” and “Second Skin” he gives us prime examples of the full range of what this man is capable of without somehow shredding his vocal chords to bits (assuredly with the aid of some sort of insane vocal training and practice over the years). Yet on this release more than any before, he also shows us a wider range of clean singing abilities as well. On songs such as “Kill The Ache” and “Let Me Leave” he gives the listeners a showcasing of the fact that whether it be a softer croon or stretching on those notes to their highest peak, he has absolutely broadened his talents and has no problem showing them off. With each release from Currents (or at the very least, the three with Wille), Brian Wille has shown that he will ever seek to improve and expand on everything he has to offer, and that is a rare thing to be able to feel simply through the speakers and without knowing the person for almost any core band these days.

Most often you hear fans say that it’s the vocalist that was the driving force in them growing their love for any band, and what kept them coming back. This isn’t really anything new or odd, seeing as unless you’re a purely instrumental band, the vocalist is the one who takes the podium to express your views and opinions. A frontman (or woman) so to speak. But that is yet another amazing thing when it comes to Currents, that while yes it is true that Wille stands out in comparison to other singers, but the entire band is as equally important and is as much of an impact on the listener. The band has almost the most difficult task in creating music that sounds unique to them and delivers something the fans can feel is fresh and interesting. Of which this band has zero lack of. “Split” was a song that stood out to me initially from an instrumental standpoint mainly due to it’s transitions from blisteringly heavy to almost atmospherically soft between intro/verse/bridge/chorus/verse (etc). The first moments of the song are sludgy slow and heavy as balls, then it’s as if the world crashes down around you and your left with the sounds you can only assume might be left after such a rattling earthquake of musical onslaught. The verses are airy and subtle, and yet this transition is so astoundingly perfect. This time at the bat the band even threw some new ingredients in the mix in the form of electronic flourishes, some of which stand out the most on “Origin”. Almost a keyboard synth sound wails over the guitars, bass, and drums during the introductory moments of this song giving it just that little extra something adding that extra edge. It was interesting to hear the band attempt new things (for them at least) on The Way It Ends and to see how perfectly it was accomplished truly blows me away.

C O M P O S I T I O N  /  P R O D U C T I O N

Currents never cease to amaze me in almost everything they release. Nothing is taken for granted or rushed. Even the artwork of the album cover is thought out from every single angle (this one in particular is a callback to The Place I Feel Safest, as the two men falling into the stormy abyss on the cover of The Way It Ends are those same two men who were thrown from the cliff on the debut…almost ties in perfectly with that previously stated line from “Never There”, doesn’t it?). The same can be said for all else that goes into making each and every song on this album. It’s almost as if there are moments when listening that you can even place yourself in the heads of the entire group, and absolutely understand where they were coming from at all moments. The song writing could not have been done in any finer of fashion and could not have been delivered in a better way. Every note and word are there for a reason and shows that this band truly thinks about every single detail. The fact that the way each instrument sounds, pairs perfectly with each word put forth shows that The Way It Ends absolutely was a collaborative effort and the input from every single member is what makes this the groups most well thought out record yet.

The production on any given album is meant to do one true thing. Give the listener’s the most perfect listening experience possible. You want the fans to hear each and every aspect and note that was recorded or else what was the point? Luckily that exact thing can be said for the production on The Way It Ends, to the point that I’d challenge anyone to not pick up on some new detail almost every time you sit down and listen. Crisp, clean, and pure was the end goal and that much was definitely accomplished.

Currents – Monsters (Official Visualizer)

Purchase / Stream here: https://shrptn.co/monsters Website, Tour Dates: https://www.currentsofficial.com Pre-Order ‘The Way It Ends’ available – June 5th Pre…

F I N A L  T H O U G H T S

At times I have created something or accomplished a task and initially was quite proud of myself. I set out to wow not only myself, but others as well and I succeeded in doing so. Yet not long afterwards, I worried if I could ever top what I had previously done. Because in the end that will always be the goal. I firmly believe that what Currents has done (among many other things) with The Way It Ends is shown their fans that they will always strive to grow and expand on what it is they have to offer and never just simply settle. I myself was a little concerned that my expectations after their incredible debut might be a touch too high and should simply wait and find out what was next. Well my expectations have been blown out of the water, and I will never suffer my own foolishness like that again. The band did not reinvent the wheel (or their own ‘wheel’ for that matter) with this album, but they definitely did not recreate something they had done ever before. This was an entirely new and fresh approach and that can be felt throughout the album in its entirety. I believe other fans will be taken aback much like I was because thankfully you never know exactly what to expect from one moment to the next on any given song on The Way It Ends. This album perhaps packs more of an emotional punch than anything the group has previously written, and one wonders what kind of toll that must take. But no matter what the price or sacrifice, one thing is for sure when it comes to Currents; they will never become another cookie cutter group and will always strive to become something more than they already are. This album is only the next chapter for the band, and what an incredible one it is.

Summary
Currents have shown us that no ceiling is too or wall previously built can not be smashed and begun anew in even finer form. They have taken all things great from The Place I feel Safest and I Let The Devil In, and expanded even further to create one of the greatest sophomore metalcore albums to date. Ballistic and maniacally heavy the one second yet melodic and moody the next, this group has zero limitations and will only continue to grow from here. This album once and for all proves that Currents are a massively powerful force to be reckoned with.
9.3
Amazing
Vocals - 10
Instrumentation - 9
Originality - 8
Longevity - 10
Flow - 10
Production - 9
Composition - 9

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